Table of contentsWhat is the coupon rate? Bond coupon rate definitionHow to calculate the coupon rate? The coupon rate formulaWhat is the difference between bond coupon rate and yield to maturity (YTM)?The relationship between coupon rates and market interest ratesFAQs
With this coupon rate calculator, we aim to help you to calculate the coupon rate of your bond investment based on the coupon payment of the bond. Coupons are one of your two main sources of income when investing in bonds. Thus, it is essential to understand this concept before you dabble in the bond investment world.
We have prepared this article to help you understand what the coupon rate of a bond is and how to calculate coupon rate. We also present you with some examples to help you understand the concept.
What is the coupon rate? Bond coupon rate definition
Before we dive into explaining the coupon rate definition, we need to first discuss what a bond is. For many business entities out there, issuing bonds is the easiest way to acquire money from investors or the market. We call it debt financing.
Investing in bonds is equivalent to loaning out money to the entity that issues them. Hence, like any other loan, you receive interest on the money lent out. In this case, the coupon payment is the interest earned on the bond.
The coupon rate tells you how much the coupon payments are relative to the face value, which is the money you lend to acquire the bond.
Now, let's look at some examples to understand how the coupon rate formula works.
How to calculate the coupon rate? The coupon rate formula
To understand how to find the coupon rate of a bond, let's take Bond A issued by Company Alpha as an example. It has the following data:
Company: Company Alpha;
Face value: $1,000;
Coupon payment per period: $25; and
Coupon frequency: Semi-annual.
Calculating the coupon rate requires four steps:
1. Determine the face value.
face value is the balloon payment a bond investor will receive when the bond matures. For our example, the
face value is
2. Calculate the annual coupon payment.
When the bond is issued, the
coupon payment per period and
coupon frequency will be stated on the bond indenture. The
annual coupon payment is the product of the two, as seen in the formula below:
annual coupon payment = coupon payment per period × coupon frequency
As this is a semi-annual coupon bond, our annual coupon rate calculator uses
coupon frequency of
2. And the
annual coupon payment for Bond A is:
$25 × 2 = $50
3. Calculate the coupon rate.
The last step is to calculate the
coupon rate. You can find it by dividing the
annual coupon payment by the
coupon rate = annual coupon payment / face value
For Bond A, the
coupon rate is
$50 / $1,000 = 5%.
Even though you now know how to find the coupon rate of a bond, you can always use this coupon rate calculator to estimate the result in no time!
What is the difference between bond coupon rate and yield to maturity (YTM)?
As we said above, the coupon rate is the product of the division of the annual coupon payment by the face value of the bond. It merely represents your annual return from your bond investments and does not tell you anything about the actual return of your investments.
On the other hand, the yield to maturity (YTM) represents the internal rate of return of your bond investments if you hold them until maturity, and so provides a more holistic picture of your return.
The relationship between coupon rates and market interest rates
For a plain-vanilla bond, the coupon rate of the bond does not change with the market interest rates — it is fixed when the bond is issued.
However, bonds issued in a high-interest-rate environment are more likely to have a higher coupon rate. Even when the interest rate goes down, the coupon rate will still stay the same. Hence, a higher coupon rate bond, in general, provides better protection for the investors.
What is a bond?
A bond is a debt security, usually issued by a government or a corporation, sold to investors. The investors will lend the money to the bond issuer by buying the bond.
The investors will receive their returns through coupons paid out during the life of the bond, as well as the face value when the bond matures.
What is a coupon?
A coupon is the interest payment of a bond. Typically, it is distributed annually or semi-annually, depending on the bond. We usually calculate it as the product of the coupon rate and the face value of the bond.
How often do I receive coupons from investing in bonds?
The short answer is it depends on the bonds that you invest in. The most common coupon frequency in the US is semi-annually.
However, there are some bonds that distribute coupons annually, quarterly, and even monthly.
Does interest rate affects the coupon rates?
For plain-vanilla bonds, no, the coupon rates are set when the bonds are formed. It is stated in the bond indenture and does not change with interest rates.
However, if you are investing in inflation-linked bonds, the coupon rates can change to match the inflation.
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